Category Archives: Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Waiting for the Rain by Sheila Gordon

Tengo is black, Frikkie is white. They are childhood friends in apartheid South Africa. As Tengo grows, he wants to get an education and be something other than a low-paid farmhand. Frikkie just wants to run the farm and is taught by his family to be racist while thinking he is not racist because he does things like giving cast-offs to the blacks (this rang very true to me as I have met white South Africans today with that exact attitude). Time passes and protests and things begin to happen in the years before the end of apartheid. The book, ultimately, is about friendship even when you don’t understand each other and about anger that leads to change. I recommend it to middle school age kids learning about apartheid.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 41
Pages Read in 2019: 10,803
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Refugee by Alan Gratz

Refugee follows the stories of three children. Josef is a Jewish boy on the St. Louis in 1939 hoping to be admitted to Cuba, Isabel is a Cuban girl in 1994 attempting to escape to Miami in a little homemade boat, and Mahmoud is a Syrian boy trying to go from Aleppo to Germany in 2015. The stories are told one chapter at a time changing the story with each chapter change. I found this to be very jarring at first and was not a fan of that set-up at all. I eventually got used to it. Ultimately the stories intertwine even though they happen such a distance apart in time and location. The main characters are fictional, but they are based on composites of actual refugees and what they experienced actually happened to people. In the author’s note, those things are detailed, including which characters were real people and which specific people some of the fictional characters were based on. I highly recommend this book to middle grade readers and up wondering what it is like to be a refugee.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 40
Pages Read in 2019: 10,589
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Middle Grades, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

I Pledge Allegiance by Chris Lynch

The first in a series about the Vietnam War, I Pledge Allegiance sees four best friends join four branches of the military and head off to war. This book is so engaging that I could barely put it down. The main character, Morris, struggles with what the point of the war is until he finds himself being shot at by Vietcong. He goes from a completely innocent kid to a war-hardened sailor. The book is raw and sometimes painful and doesn’t shy away from describing the horrors of war, but it is still appropriate for younger audiences. I highly recommend it to teens interested in the Vietnam War.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 39
Pages Read in 2019: 10,232
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Surviving Hitler by Andrea Warren

Jack had a wonderful, carefree childhood, but when he was a pre-teen, Hitler invaded his home country of Poland. Eventually Jack was sent to a concentration camp. Over the course of the war, he was shuffled around to several camps, always being forced to do hard labor and always struggling to survive. As with most Holocaust survivor stories, there were very occasional kind Nazis who helped him and there were always friends, other prisoners, helping him. Surviving Hitler is a quick read. Jack’s story is told in a very factual way and with great impact. His hope was that knowing his and other survivor stories would help us to never again allow a Holocaust to happen. I very highly recommend this book to anyone early teens and up learning about or interested in World War II.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 38
Pages Read in 2019: 10,035
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Filed under Non-Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Sacajawea by Joseph Bruchac

Told in alternating voices of Clark and Sacajawea, Sacajawea tells the story of the Corps of Discovery as if the two were answering young Pomp’s (Jean Baptiste Charbonneau) questions. It is extremely well researched, often paraphrasing from the actual journals written by Lewis and Clark. The two voices are very distinct making it easy to identify the current speaker. At times it dragged, however, making it easy to put down for a while. I recommend it to anyone wanting to learn more about the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

4 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 37
Pages Read in 2019: 9875
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Cameron, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

A Stone in My Hand by Cathryn Clinton

Years before the beginning of A Stone in My Hand, a Palestinian family is forced to leave their home in the newly created Israel. They settle in Gaza. Fast forward a few decades and the story begins around the time of the intifada. The book is narrated by a young Palestinian girl, the youngest in the family. She almost completely stops talking after her father disappears on his way to try to get work in Israel. Her sister basically puts her life on hold hoping the occupation and fighting will end soon. Her brother becomes so frustrated by the Israeli soldiers everywhere that he flirts with becoming a jihadist. It is very well-written historical fiction and shows how one person’s actions affect someone else in ways you might not expect. I recommend it to middle school age and up learning about the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians (I would recommend adding a pro-Israel book to be read as well to balance the pro-Palestine slant of this one).

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 36
Pages Read in 2019: 9665
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz

Remembrance by Theresa Breslin

Set during World War I, Remembrance is a fantastic historical fiction book. It portrays the excitement, horror, and heartbreak of war in an honest way through narration as well as letters between the characters. It is so incredibly well-written. The writing evokes many emotions and transports the reader to the 19-teens. I very highly recommend this book to young teens and up who are learning about World War I.

5 (out of 5) Stars

Books Read in 2019: 33
Pages Read in 2019: 9100
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Filed under Historical Fiction, Reason: LitHub Bingo, Reason: Pre-Reading for Fritz